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Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves / Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Damnation Books / December 2009
Reviewed by: Michele Lee

Damnation Books has been putting out a number of good, solid reads thus far in its brief history. But none so far have been of the same caliber in the dark fantasy genre as Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves by Shane Jiraiya Cummings.
In this post-apocalyptic fantasy tale, Damon – once a magician in the truest sense – hunts the charred scar that used to be Australia alone, trying to catch a literal phoenix and outrace the trapped, damned souls of his family that have been turned into shadowy wolves. Damon's own role in the event that ended the world comes to light for readers during the story, making him something between hero and anti-hero.

Conventional wisdom tells writers to begin as close to the end of their story as they can to keep the tale tight. Cummings, perhaps adhering to this, begins what could have been an interesting dark urban fantasy tale after the end, while avoiding an overwhelming sense of hopelessness or despair. Cummings' world is sterile, ashy and empty, but Damon is fueled by the hope, which exists as a near-certainty, that he will reach his phoenix and be able to change things.

Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves is short, too brief at times, giving it a movie-like feel as it sticks close to the absolute essentials instead of wandering around in extra padding. It also manages to be leisurely beautiful in its world and character-building, accentuated by its race against time, rather than driven by it.

Cummings spins a tale unique in its setting, intent and feel that is well worth the read and really should earn some well-deserved attention.

Purchase Phoenix and the Darkness of Wolves by Shane Jiraiya Cummings.

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 02:46PM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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